Well, it’s summer, and for other parts of the world a very serious and concerning one. At home, the ennui of the Peace Process™. We owe much to our guest bloggers, new talent and the sheer hard work and presence of our old stagers for keeping the conversation fresh, live and relevant in our glacial political space.
One thing worth remarking on, before it fades completely from memory, is the Paddy Barnes ‘controversy’ (such as it was) from last week.
Paddy lifted another Gold medal to add to his collection after gracefully (if it is right to use such a term) cutting through the opposition at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last week but was seen to say ‘that’s not my anthem’. Cue a fairly minor silly season feeding frenzy.
Paddy gave his ‘side’ to the story pointing out, quite correctly, that Northern Ireland not only has no anthem, it also has no official flag. The flag used at the Games is not official, but it is the only one in existence that has ‘authority’.
The question of having a new flag is not a new one. It wasn’t even that new when Gerry Lynch posed the question on Nolan’s TV show a few years back…
As has been well noted the best way to change long-term behaviour is with short-term feedback. Most of the really transformational work in Northern Ireland around the time and immediately after the Belfast Agreement.
Whilst there has to be a premium put on the stability that the DUP and Sinn Fein have brought to the party, that stability has come at the price of fresh short term innovation.
Indeed it took something as mundane as an aviation open day to flush out the degree of stasis at the centre of OFMdFM.
Retrenching to old narratives, unrevised, revisited rather than examining them in the light of new circumstances and opportunities may have to be work for another time.
In the meantime the sheer human distress of failing to resolve violent disputes elsewhere is a reminder that half the work is better than none done at all. Let’s just hope that in our serving a pressing need for stabilty we haven’t completely buried those capable of striking deals across the middle.
One day we will have to get around to taking short term actions that move us on from where we are rather than dreaming inn the long term about where we think we ought to be.
An anthem and flag might end the cruel and inhuman practice of torturing young, talented and ambitious sports men and women over questions our own politicians have thus far failed to resolve in themselves.
So what about a new flag?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty